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Mariko Mori’s Olympic masterpiece on permanent display

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Published date 30 November 2016

A ten foot wide, two ton installation by renowned Japanese artist and Chelsea alumna, Mariko Mori, is now on permanent display in the Cunhambebe State Park in Brazil.

A collaboration between the Rio 2016 Cultural Program and Mori’s Faou Foundation, Ring: One with Nature is a giant, luminous acrylic ring which was originally installed atop the Véu da Noiva (two hours outside Rio) waterfall during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Ring: One with nature, photo by leo aversa, courtesy of Faou Foundation

Ring: One with nature, photo by Leo Aversa, courtesy of Faou Foundation

With this creation, Mori has turned her dreams into reality – literally. Seven years ago, the artist had a dream in which a heavenly ring appeared above a waterfall, and Ring: One with Nature gives shape to this vision. Ring: One with Nature is designed to be a symbol of beauty set in the surroundings of Brazil’s rainforest, a wish for peace and harmony, and a reminder of every being’s timeless connection with the earth. Mori says the work “celebrates the unity between every being and nature, and is emblematic of the unity of all nations and ethnicities”.

The artist and her work. Photo: Courtesy Faou Foundation.

The artist and her work. Photo: Courtesy Faou Foundation.

The Faou Foundation has now gifted Ring: One with Nature to the Instituto Estadual do Ambiente (State Institute of the Environment, Brazil) and the State of Rio de Janeiro so it can remain a lasting legacy of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games for all to enjoy and also act as a bridge towards Tokyo 2020.

When you hear about the logistics involved in initially installing the work, you can’t help but further marvel at the masterpiece. Mori visited 30 waterfalls before picking the perfect one. With only five months to go the location had to be changed causing two years of hard planning to be changed at short notice. Also, due to the terrain and the weight of the work, many topographical, environmental, hydrological, and mechanical engineers were called upon. The giant cantilever to hold the ring in place, is designed to last more than 1,000 years! Making it truly permanent.

Photo by Leo Aversa, courtesy of Faou Foundation

Photo by Leo Aversa, courtesy of Faou Foundation

Mariko Mori (Chelsea, BA (Hons) Fine Art (1991)) is widely regarded as one of the most important artists to emerge from Japan in the past 50 years. Her work has been exhibited at prestigious institutions internationally. In 2011, a major survey of her work, entitled Oneness, became the world’s most visited contemporary art exhibition in its venue at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. In 2014, University of the Arts London awarded Mori with an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of her contribution to the art world. In 2016 Mori generously opened up her private New York studio for an exclusive tour and Q&A for members of UAL’s East Coast Alumni Association.

Mariko Mori at UAL's 2014 Graduation Ceremonies

Mariko Mori at UAL’s 2014 Graduation Ceremonies

Mori established the Faou Foundation in 2010. This non-profit organisation sets out to promote environmental awareness and education around the world by gifting site-specific works on each of the six habitable continents. Continuing the primal tradition of honouring nature, each work will stand as an emblem of gratitude for the planet’s diverse eco-systems and natural resources. The ethos that Faou wishes to inspire is, “One with Nature”, embracing artistic practice as a vehicle to protect the natural environment.